Touring Bike Tire Test: Schwalbe Marathon Plus

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Contents and Test Summary

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Size, Weight, Thickness
  4. Rolling Resistance: 25.5 watts
  5. Puncture Resistance: 13 tread / 5 sidewall
  6. Conclusion: 5 / 5 Highly Recommended
  • Schwalbe Marathon Plus
Performance compared to all other touring bike tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - thickest - strongest)

Schwalbe Marathon Plus road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

The Schwalbe Marathon Plus is Schwalbe's most puncture resistant tour/e-bike tire. It also happens to be their best-selling tire, which tells us that people looking for these kind of tires value puncture resistance over a lower rolling resistance and weight. Ending up somewhere in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire isn't fun, but how much speed are you giving up with the Marathon Plus when compared to the regular Marathon?

When comparing all specifications of the Marathon and Marathon Plus side by side, both tires seem very similar. They both use a 67 TPI casing and the Schwalbe Endurance compound. The biggest difference is that the Plus version of the Marathon has an even thicker puncture layer when compared to the regular Marathon (3 mm). Schwalbe calls this 5 mm thick layer 'SmartGuard.' The 5 mm thick SmartGuard protection should result in a nearly flat-less tire at the cost of a higher rolling resistance and weight.

I've already tested the regular Marathon (read review) and was surprised by its very low rolling resistance. The Marathon can outperform tires that supposedly should have a much lower rolling resistance (on paper). Let's find out if the Plus version can surprise us as well.


Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Specs
Brand Schwalbe
Model Marathon Plus
Year 2015
Supplied By Supplied by Schwalbe
New or Used New
Mileage 0 km
Price Range High
Buy At Ad
Manufacturer part number 11100769
TPI 67
Compound Endurance
Bead Wire
ETRTO 37-622
Size Inch 28"
Width mm 37.00
Specified Weight 900 grams
Max Pressure 85
Made In Indonesia
Available Sizes 40-635 (28x1.50)
47-622 (28x1.75)
40-622 (28x1.50)
37-622 (28x1.40)
32-622 (28x1.25)
28-622 (28x1.10)
25-622 (28x1.00)
42-590 (26x1.60)
37-590 (26x1.40)
40-584 (27.5x1.50)
50-559 (26x2.00)
47-559 (26x1.75)
40-559 (26x1.50)
35-559 (26x1.35)
47-507 (24x1.75)
47-406 (20x1.75)
35-406 (20x1.35)
35-349 (26x1.35)

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Test Results

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Touring/E-Bike on a rolling resistance test machine

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements
Specified Weight 900 grams
Measured Weight 898 grams
Measured Width 34 mm
Measured Height 36 mm
Tread Depth 2.0 mm
Total Tire Thickness Center 9.0 mm
Total Tire Thickness Sidewall 1.60 mm
All size measurements are taken at an air pressure of 60 psi / 4 bars on a 17.8 mm inner width rim.

The specified weight of the Marathon Plus is 900 grams; this is 170 grams more than the regular Marathon. The real measured weight of my sample of the Plus is 898 grams, which is pretty close. The Plus measures 34 mm wide and 36 mm high at 60 psi on a 17C rim. The regular and Plus Marathon both have almost the same size.

Tread depth is 2.0 mm; this is a bit less than the regular Marathon which has slightly more tread depth (2.3 mm). The really interesting measurements are the Total Tire Thickness Tread and Total Tire Thickness Sidewall measurements. As expected, the Plus has a higher thickness in the center of the tire, with a total thickness of 9.0 mm it's the thickest tire of all tires tested to date. The thickness of the sidewalls is very similar to the plain Marathon at 1.60 mm.

Rolling Resistance Test Results

Rolling Resistance Test Results
Inner Tube Conti Tour 28 (170 gr butyl)
Rolling Resistance
90 PSI / 6 Bar
22.6 Watts
CRR: 0.00677
Rolling Resistance
75 PSI / 5 Bar
23.6 Watts
CRR: 0.00707
Rolling Resistance
60 PSI / 4 Bar
25.5 Watts
CRR: 0.00764
Rolling Resistance
45 PSI / 3 Bar
28.9 Watts
CRR: 0.00866
Rolling Resistance
30 PSI / 2 Bar
36.6 Watts
CRR: 0.01097
All numbers are for a single tire at a speed of 29 km/h / 18 mph and a load of 42.5 kg / 94 lbs.

Use the formula: RR (Watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load.

As expected, rolling resistance of the Marathon Plus is higher than the plain Marathon. Depending on air pressure, you're giving up 4 - 6 watts of power per tire (20%). This isn't all that much given the 2 mm of extra puncture protection the Plus provides. I think it comes down to personal preference whether you like the lower rolling resistance or the higher puncture protection.

When we compare the Marathon tires to similar tires from different brands, the Schwalbe tires seem to be in another league when you take both puncture and rolling resistance into consideration. At least at the time of this writing, the other brands just can't compete.

Puncture Resistance Test Results

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Touring/E-Bike on a rolling resistance test machine
Puncture Resistance Test Result (higher is better)
Puncture Resistance Tread 13 Points
Puncture Resistance Sidewall 5 Points
Puncture Factor Tread * 117 Points
Puncture Factor Sidewall * 8 Points
* Puncture Factor = Puncture Resistance * Total Tire Thickness.
Puncture Factor provides a more realistic puncture resistance score for touring tires

Rolling resistance of the Marathon Plus is 20% higher. In an ideal world, puncture resistance should be 20% higher as well. Unfortunately, this isn't true, in the raw puncture test, which measures the force required to puncture the tire. Less force is needed to puncture the Marathon Plus (13 points) than the plain Marathon (14 points). The low raw puncture score indicates the material used in the Plus version is even softer and easier to puncture than the material utilized in the plain Marathon.

When we also take the thickness of the tire into consideration, the tables turn in favor of the Plus. With a Puncture Factor of 117 points, it outperforms the plain Marathon (102 points) by 15%. Both tires score nearly the same puncture scores in the sidewall test.


  • Schwalbe Marathon Plus
Performance compared to all other touring bike tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - thickest - strongest)

The Schwalbe Marathon Plus offers some extra puncture resistance over the Marathon (GreenGuard), at the cost of a 20% (4 - 6 watts) higher rolling resistance and a 170 grams higher weight per tire. I think that sums up the biggest differences in a concise manner. It comes down to personal preferences and usage conditions whether you like the Marathon or the Marathon Plus better.

You can't go wrong with the Marathon Plus or the Marathon (GreenGuard) (read review), both tires are best in class and easily outperform tires from other brands.

Ad Buy Schwalbe Marathon Plus at

RATING: 5 / 5
Highly Recommended


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